The end of a golden era

The life and legacy of Betty White.


The national treasure Betty White passed away in her sleep on Dec.  31, 2021. Just two weeks short of her 100th birthday. 

      But let’s shed some light on this wonderful woman’s incredible life and career.

     She was born on Jan.  17, 1922, in Oakpark, Illinois as an only child to parents Tess and Horace White. At two years old, her family packed up and moved to Los Angeles, California for her father’s job. 

     This is where her dream for stardom began. 

     She attended Beverly Hills High School, where she started

the Latin club and focused heavily on a progression to

wards beginning an Opera career.  

     Whites’ first gig in the entertainment industry was just two months after her high school graduation, where she sang songs in radio commercials. Throughout the 1940’s White

continued her role on several radio shows. 

     However, her big break came when Al Jarvis, host of Hol

lywood Television, asked White to take a role as one of the shows “Girl Fridays”, which is essentially a less glorified version of Vanna White from Wheel of Fortune.

     White went on to become the host of the show. And in 1952, she co-founded

Bandy Productions in order to work on her own projects. 

     This is notably impressive as women did not have as much power in the film industry as they do today. 

     In the following years, White starred on several other TV shows like Life with Elizabeth, Date with Los Angeles, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

     Because of her growing popularity in the industry, White would often guest star on television game shows. It is on one of these shows, Password, where she met her husband, Allen Ludden. 

      Ludden and White were married in 1963 and were together for 18 years before his death in 1981. White did not remarry. 

    Between her first TV show in 1952 and 1984, White received three Grammys and even started her own television show The Betty White Show in 1977. 

     However, most people know her because of her role as Rose Nylund in the 1985 hit TV show The Golden Girls. The show centered around four elderly women experiencing life together in Miami.

     White earned seven Emmy nominations and won the award in 1986. The show, unfortunately, ended in 1992, and White was on to bigger and better things. 

   White’s popularity surged in the early 2010s with a humorous Superbowl commercial, where the then 88 year old was tackled into a mud puddle and turned into a rage monster.    

    In wake of this, fans organized a petition for White to be a guest host on Saturday Night Live in May of 2010. Because of her performance as the oldest host in show history, White received yet another Emmy award.

     White was also an avid animal rights activist and had 26 dogs of her own. White was an honorary zookeeper at the Los Angeles Zoo and had a TV show called Betty White’s Pet Set, where she would entertain her love of animals while interviewing celebrities. By the end of her life, she donated nearly $200,000 to animal rights groups. 

    The legacy of Betty White impacts all Americans one way or another. From having the longest American entertainment career ever created, to contributing to animal rights campaigns. While she may have walked through the golden gates, this Golden Girl will forever have a place in American entertainment history.